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 My topic for any martial arts action films I happen to watch.

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A_Nonny_Moose
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PostSubject: My topic for any martial arts action films I happen to watch.   Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:24 pm

After watching the Bruce Lee movies I was in the mood for some more, so I watched some other films

The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978)

This one I saw on Netflix. It's weird, Netflix has a few films like this and at first glance you just think "Look at that hokey old kung fu movie, probably shit". But this and many other similar films were made after Bruce Lee made his movies (which was 71-73). This one is 5 years later, and yet it doesn't look or feel as modern as Lee's films. Maybe because those were set in the modern day (well, the early 70s), but even Fist of Fury which was early 1900's felt more like a modern movie.

Oh well. Still, this was good. It's basically a revenge story. A guy called San Te (although the subs on Netflix call him San Ta, which was amusing) joins the rebels against the Manchus, and all his rebel friends get killed, so he goes to the Shaolin temple to learn kung fu. Which takes up nearly the whole movie. Startin from 35th Chamber (the lowest one) he works his way up, becomes a monk, invents a new weapon (the 3-section staff) and then gets his revenge. So really there's one small action scene at the beginning, followed by an 80 minute training montage, then 15 minutes of action at the end. But it was good action.

In the end he establishes the 36th Chamber of Shaolin, which is supposed to teach martial arts to ordinary people instead of just monks.


Return to the 36th Chamber (1980)

Also on Netflix. The same actor (Chia-Hui Liu, also known as Gordon Liu) returns playing a different main character. This time he's a con-artist, and he tries to help his friends who work at a corrupt dye factory. Again it all goes belly up and he's out for revenge. So he goes to enter the 36th Chamber of Shaolin to learn kung fu. Which isn't how I imagined it would be. It seems really hard to even get in, with a bunch of trials to pass.

But he tricks his way in eventually. At this I should say the tone of this film is completely different to the first. This one is almost entirely a comedy, with the main character pulling various stuns and pranks to cheat his way into the 36th Chamber. When he gets in he gets found out, so San Te (played by someone else) tasks him with repairing the chamber's roof as a penance. And so like the last film, an extremely long training montage begins, as Chao has to put up scaffolding. It takes him a whole year, during which he watches the students in the chamber and uses the scaffolding and ropes to build his own make-shift training equipment. After a whole year of putting up scaffolding and never actually repairing anything, he's apparently finished. He asks to train in the chamber but San Te just kicks him out.

Chao doesn't realise it at first, but he's already a kung fu master, having mastered the art of (literally) scaffolding-fu. What follows is an impressive, inventive, funny, and unique couple of action scenes, with Chao using his scaffolding knowledge to beat up the bad guys. It's really great. He carries a bunch of short ropes on his belt and ties people up as he's fighting them, and uses all the dye poles to trap people. The bad guy all use little wooden stools as weapons too. It's crazy but a lot of fun.

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PostSubject: Re: My topic for any martial arts action films I happen to watch.   Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:56 pm

Skin Trade (2014)

Dolph Lundgren, Michael Jai White, and Tony Jaa. Yeah, I had no idea Tony Jaa was back. But lord is this a shit film and he's kind of shit in it. Typical problem with modern action movies, the fight sequences have some pretty poor editing. There's also an extremely weird motion blur effect in use sometimes, which look horrible. I wouldn't bother with it.

SPL 2: A Time for Consequences (2015)

Wu Jing, Zhang Jin, and Tony Jaa. Yeah, I had no idea Tony Jaa was back. But lord is this a fantastic film and he's fantastic in it.

Seriously, this is Tony Jaa and Michael Jai White from the end of Skin Trade:



And this is Tony Jaa and Wu Jing from the start of SPL 2 (unfortunately I can't find it with the full aspect ratio):


It's so much better. SPL 2 is a sequel "in name only" to the Donnie Yen/Sammo Hung film SPL (Sha Po Lang), also called Killzone or SPL: Killzone. Wu Jing played the assassin in that film, and Simon Yam also returns playing another cop. Donnie and Sammo had nothing to do with it.

Now if I was to try to describe the plot, or if you were to try to read the plot on IMDB or Wikipedia or something it would probably come across as a lot more complicated than it does in the film. There's good guys and bad guys and an illegal organ trading ring and so on. It's a long film, two full hours, and the fight above is the only bit of action for the first hour while the plot is being set up.

But halfway through the film there's a brilliant prison riot scene, and the action scenes are dropped in at a good pace after that. The final scene goes a little bit too far with one or two not-so-great visual effects, but otherwise it's great. Don't let the awful title bother you, I would definitely recommend this.

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PostSubject: Re: My topic for any martial arts action films I happen to watch.   Mon Nov 09, 2015 1:50 am

The michael Jai White fight looks like shit, the fight doesn't seem to have impact and it looks like they are pulling all their punches, before they even make impact. Disappointed that Tony Jaa doesn't seem to be putting his Shaolin training to use. Unless he wasn't learning that kind of Shaolin.

SPL2 looks cool I should check it out i need to see Kung Fu Killer.

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PostSubject: Re: My topic for any martial arts action films I happen to watch.   Mon Nov 09, 2015 1:35 pm

Iceman (2014)

In which Donnie Yen laughs at his own farts. This is a remake of the 1989 film The Iceman Cometh, which starred Yuen Biao. It's about some ancient Chinese warriors who get frozen and then awake in modern times and they for some magic artifact to take them back home or something. It's mostly a bad comedy, with an alright action finale. It ended with a teaser for the sequel too, so I guess they were filmed back to back.

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PostSubject: Re: My topic for any martial arts action films I happen to watch.   Mon Nov 09, 2015 4:21 pm

I might watch some of these.

I am more the 70s and 80s macho gun blazing badasses like Stallone, Norris, Bronson, JCVD, and many others, but I was always curious about Martial Art movies a try.

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PostSubject: Re: My topic for any martial arts action films I happen to watch.   Mon Nov 09, 2015 8:05 pm

Totally going to watch Iceman Cometh now, Yuen Biao is awesome I heard Icemn bombed I will watch it eventually. Keep up the topic Moose this is wicked gives me a list of stuff to watch.

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PostSubject: Re: My topic for any martial arts action films I happen to watch.   Wed Nov 11, 2015 7:40 pm

The Protector/Warrior King/Tom Yum Goong 2 (2013)

You know, the one where Tony Jaa's elephant gets kidnapped. This is the sequel to that. In this one, Tony Jaa's elephant gets kidnapped. Featuring, for no reason at all, this lady:

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Although she only wears that outfit once. You would think (I did) that she would be the final opponent for the female hero in the film. Yeah, this time around Tony is joined by Jeeja Yin, star of Chocolate and Raging Pheonix. Which I know buu won't like because he hates women in action films. She does alright though. They make it work. But anyway, the two female leads never fight. Which I guess is okay. You don't need a female villain for the female hero to fight. She can fight with the guys. It's just that she always gets her arse kicked. So they avoided the cliche catfight, but also didn't make the heroine capable of beating the men. So... it's realistic, I suppose? It's weird is what it is.

Speaking of "realistic", this is by far the dumbest, silliest martial arts film in recent years. Possibly ever. And I just watched a movie where a guy learns scaffolding-fu. Near the start, there is the most ridiculous action scene ever. Not necessarily for what happens in it, but because it's 12 minutes long and there is literally no reason for it. Some guys on bikes show up and chase Tony Jaa around for 12 minutes for absolutely no reason.

Then near the end there's a light saber duel. Well, sort of. They end  up fighting on a live train line, and their shoes are all wet, so they're conducting electricity between each other while fighting. There's electricity comes off their hands and feet and light saber "vwing" sound effects, it's mental.

Quite a lot of bad special effects too. About half the fight scenes obviously weren't filmed on location because the background is badly chroma keyed in. There's a couple of explosions that look like they were lifted from a PS1 FMV. And all of this also somehow involves a plot to assassinate a political leader to ruin a peace treaty. There are some good fights though.

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PostSubject: Re: My topic for any martial arts action films I happen to watch.   Thu Nov 19, 2015 1:12 am

Ip Man: The Legend is Born (2010)

Saw this awhile ago. I would have said it was a prequel to the Donnie Yen movies but apparently it was made without any collaboration from the producers of those films. It was released the same year as Ip Man 2 as well. It does share a lot of the same cast though. Yu-Hang To plays Ip Man, who had smaller roles in Ip Man and Ip Man 2. Sammo Hung has a small role at the start (which confused me at first because he looks exactly like his character from Ip Man 2, and also has an illness like his character from Ip Man 2), and Siu-Wong Fan, who played the northern kung fu guy in Ip Man 1 and 2 has a major role in this. Also, I just found out from IMDB that Siu-Wong Fan was Riki in the Riki-Oh movie. IMDB says Yuen Biao is the movie too (this movie, not Riki-Oh), which I didn't realise.

The story gets pretty silly at parts, especially the end (although Ip Man 2 was the same), but it's good. I'm guessing it takes some major liberties with Ip Man's life, but it pokes fun at it's own weirdness, which I liked. Given that I watched it thinking it was a direct prequel to the Donnie Yen movie, I thought it was good enough to stand alongside it.

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PostSubject: Re: My topic for any martial arts action films I happen to watch.   Thu Jun 23, 2016 10:24 pm

Ip Man 3 (2105)

The third Donnie Yen Ip Man movie. Not to be confused with Ip Man: The Legend is Born starring Yu-Hang To, The Grandmaster starring Tony Chiu Wai Leung, or Ip Man: The Final Fight starring Anthony Chau-Sang Wong, which are all also about Ip Man. But which do not involve Donnie Yen.

In this one, Ip Man is just getting on with things, when Mike Tyson sends some goons to rough up his son's school master and force him to sell the school. General thuggery, you know. So Ip Man sorts it out, and he fights Mike Tyson, and it's all settled. Thing is, that happens about 2/3rds of the way through the film.

You see, there's this other guy. He also knows Wing Chun. Him and Ip Man meet a couple times, he gets involved with the gang, he helps Ip Man out sometimes, but really he wants to fight him. So after the Mike Tyson business is done with, this other guy opens his own Wing Chun school and challenges Ip Man. Also Ip Man's relationship with his wife is a big part of this film.

It's weird. It feels like saving the school and beating the gang is main thrust of the film, but it just ends and the film keeps going. But I have to say I really liked it anyway. It's so different from the old period films about Chinese history and the modern films about cops and the triads. Ip Man is the nicest guy in the world who also happens to be an amazing fighter. The films are just... nice. The first one is set during World War II so it's more serious, but even still.

It's because of that, that I actually care about the characters now. Donnie Yen is so likeable as Ip Man, and despite the strange pacing of the film, it all works because of him.

There's also a small cameo of sorts. Kwok-Kwok Chan plays a young Bruce Lee in a couple scenes. Looking him up, he also payed Bruce Lee in a TV series called The Legend of Bruce Lee, and a film of the same name. Doesn't do anything fighting, but he does a good Bruce Lee impression. Reading around it seems there are some people who don't these films trying to push Ip Man as Bruce Lee's master, and for ignoring Bruce's life in America. They say it's propaganda etc. Which isn't hard to believe I guess since the villains in these films are always foreign.

But whatever. I loved it. The action was great of course. The highlight being a fight in an elevator/stairwell with a Muay Thai fighter. It's on Netflix in the UK, don't know about the US. Go watch Ip Man, then Ip Man 2, then this. They're all good.

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PostSubject: Re: My topic for any martial arts action films I happen to watch.   Sun Jun 26, 2016 11:34 am

yeah, just now finished Ip Man 3 on Netflix as well. I really loved it, was a big fan of the previous 2 too.
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PostSubject: Re: My topic for any martial arts action films I happen to watch.   Sun Jun 26, 2016 5:57 pm

The antagonists sudden emphasis on authentic Wing Chun was a bit confusing, since there wasn't an obvious difference in the way they fought, and it's not explained very well either. It was a fairly big plot point in Ip Man: The Legend is Born as well, but that movie did it better.

I heard early on that the plan for the 3rd movie was to focus on Ip Man's relationship with Bruce Lee, but Ip Man's estate didn't want that. Ip Man's sons have been involved heavily with all 3 films and apparently didn't want too much of Bruce because he was disrespectful to Ip Man at some point.

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PostSubject: Re: My topic for any martial arts action films I happen to watch.   Mon Jun 27, 2016 1:21 pm

I didnt like 2 and didn't realise anyone actually did. The first was great though i'll check out 3 at some point.

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